General Crime

* Mishel Caviness Hayward women sentenced to 216 days in jail for a felony forgery in identity theft operation

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A Hayward woman was sentenced today to 216 days in jail for a felony forgery conviction for her role in a large-scale and sophisticated identity theft operation, an Alameda County District Attorney spokeswoman said.Mishel Caviness, 41, is now out of custody because she has already served her jail time but she remains on probation, spokeswoman Teresa Drenick said.

Caviness originally was charged with seven counts each of passing forged checks and identity theft, five counts of forging California driver’s licenses and one count of grand theft. But Drenick said prosecutors allowed her to plead guilty to just one count of forgery. She said a co-defendant in the case was sentenced earlier this week but she doesn’t yet have details on that sentencing.

Oakland police Officer Ryan Goodfellow said at a news conference at police headquarters on May 16 that officers who served a search warrant at Caviness’s home in Hayward found an elaborate operation that included machines that make false identity cards, credit cards and social security cards. They also found numerous blank checks, he said.

Oakland police spokeswoman Holly Joshi said the identity theft ring is “the biggest in Oakland Police Department history” and involved “a one-stop shop for everything.” Goodfellow said authorities found identification information on “thousands of people”when they served the search warrant at Caviness’s home in the 22000 block of Foothill Boulevard.

He said it appeared that most of the potential victims were local but some may have been from other states. Goodfellow said Oakland police, in conjunction with the U.S. Secret Service, began an investigation in late January 2011 when a city of Oakland employee told authorities that her checks had been cashed fraudulently. He said Caviness is on permanent disability and has a prior felony conviction for welfare fraud.

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